Cover image for The shoemaker's holiday
The shoemaker's holiday
Dekker, Thomas, approximately 1572-1632.
Publication Information:
Woodbury, N.Y. : Barron's Educational Series, inc., [1979]

Physical Description:
xxvii, 82 pages ; 20 cm
Format :

On Order



Bernard Sahlin's new adaptation streamlines the dialogue for contemporary audiences and makes this play extremely playable.

Author Notes

Dekker was a popular, prolific writer who had a hand in at least 40 plays, which he wrote for Philip Henslowe, the theatrical entrepreneur. In the plays that seem to be completely by Dekker, he shows himself as a realist of London life, but even his most realistic plays have a strong undertone of romantic themes and aspirations. The Shoemaker's Holiday (1600), for example, glorifies the gentle craft of the shoemaker, and the character Simon Eyre speaks in an extravagant, hyperbolic style that is far from realistic. Dekker also wrote such prose pamphlets as the Bellman of London (1608) and The Gull's Hornbook (1609), the latter an entertaining account of the behavior of a country yokel and dupe in London. He died in debt.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

A popular comedy in Shakespeare's day, The Shoemaker's Holiday was temporarily removed from the repertory during the Restoration for being too racy. Here, Bernard Sahlins, a founder of Chicago's acclaimed comedy troupe, the Second City, has updated the text to make it more accessible to modern actors, sans editorial glosses or scholarly apparatus. It's all Dekker, except for about 450 words that have disappeared from the language or changed meaning. The adaptations made by Sahlins are invisible to anyone who is not intimately familiar with the text. For example, he has replaced sundry in the first line with several; later, "I'll o'erreach his policies" becomes "I'll outscheme him." The language of bawdy and insult is mostly untouched. While this is a legitimate effort, this reviewer is unconvinced of its virtue. Wanting to make a 16th-century play available to a general reading public is commendable, but altering the text is part of a dangerous trend that can lead to horrific writing when the original, if played well, is perfectly clear. That this play is intended for adults rather than teens who might have more trouble with the language makes the need for an adaptation all the more questionable. For specialized theater collections only.-Thomas E. Luddy, Salem State Coll., MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.